Last night, in denying a request for a muslim man scheduled to be executed to have an imam in the chamber rather than a Christian chaplain, the christianist caliphate of the Supreme Court laid waste to the first amendment:
Time and time again the courts have demanded religious neutrality from the state, whether the context is schools, government programs, or religious displays. Alabama acknowledges that since 1997, the Rev. Chris Summers has witnessed nearly every execution in the state, kneeling and praying with prisoners just before they are killed. But they would not allow Ray’s imam to do the same.
As the 11th Circuit noted, this was not a complicated question: “The central constitutional problem here is that the state has regularly placed a Christian cleric in the execution room to minister to the needs of Christian inmates, but has refused to provide the same benefit to a devout Muslim and all other non-Christians.” The state argued that only the chaplain was allowed to be present because he was a prison employee and “a member of the execution team.” He was trained in execution protocols—but prison officials would not explain what such training demands, or why Ray’s imam could visit him regularly in prison but not be with him at the time of execution. The appeals court was bothered by the paucity of briefing and had ordered a fast-track hearing to better understand the reasons for the policy. The state agreed that the Christian chaplain need not be present and, feeling that it had cured the constitutional defect, asked the high court to vacate the stay. Ray’s attorneys responded in pleadings that “Mr. Ray does not dispute that the state has an interest in enforcing its judgments. But it does not have an interest in doing so unconstitutionally.”
This will do down with other appalling decisions from the past and the near future.